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Shri Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman 




July - September 2007 

No. 3 

Venkatamakhin (Father of Melakarta Scheme) 

by Garland N. Rajagopalan 

Bhakti Cult in Swati Tirunal Kritis 

by Dr. Bhuvaneswari G 

Variations in Raga names in Thyagaraja kritis found in the 
by Radha Sarangapani 

Impact of Music on Fluman Psyche 

by Prof. (Dr.) T. Unnikrishnan 

From Ragas to Riches 

byT.V. Sairam 

The Pearl in the Oyster - Sudha Raghunathan 

Interview: by Sudha Subramaniam 

Periyavaa and His Affinity to Veena 

by Neyveli Santhanagopalan 

Know your Core Competence 

by Vijay Natesan 

Champion of Upa Pakkavadyas 

by Dr.Sulochana Rajendran 

Book Review : A classic History 

by P P Ramachandran 


by ‘Sulochana Pattabhiraman 

Sree Gurave Namaha 

by Sudha Subramaniam 

Happenings at the Vidyalaya 

by Nalini Dinesh 



Telugu Publications before 1930 










, 43 

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This issue opens with an article on Venkatamakhin, the father of 
Melakarta Scheme, followed by a study on the Navavidha Bhakti 
Kritis of Maharaja Swathi Tirunal. The next article is the first part 
of a copious treatise on the variations in raga names in Tyagaraja 
Kritis found in the Telugu Publications before 1930 , supported 
with authentic source. This is followed by articles on the Impact 
of music on Human psyche and the raga system being the 
unique contribution of Indian music to the World of music. Among 
others there is an interesting article on know your Core 
Competence followed by the usual features of Interviews, Book 
Review and Reports. 

This issue also carries tributes to those eminent maestros and 
gurus whose passing away during the recent months, has left the 
Carnatic music world poorer. 




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Father of Melakarta Scheme (c. 1635 / 1660 C.E.) 
by Garland N. Rajagopalan 

The home of Govinda Dikshitar, the great 
scholar - administrator - musicologist and 
Minister to the Rulers of Thanjavur, was the 
chosen Abode of Goddess Saraswati. 
Venkatamakhin or Venkateswara Dikshitar 
was one of his seven sons. He underwent 
musical training under his elder brother. 
Yajnanarayana Dikshitar and later under 
Danappachariar, alias Venkata Sarma. in 
praise of whom he composed the gitam 
‘Gandharva Janatha’ (Arabhi raga). He had 
authored the works Vartikabharana, a 
commentary on Mimamsa and Karmanta 
vartika. His brilliant brother, Yajnarayana 
Dikshitar had authored the work Sanglta 

Vijayaraghava Bhupala Nayak was the ruler 
who encouraged Venkatamakhin in his 
landmark and historic pursuits in 
musicology. The epocmaking immortal 
work ‘Chaturdandi Prakasika' was written 
by Venkatamakhin. It had been in 
circulation in manuscript till it was taken up 
for print in the 20th century and published 
in 1 934 by the Madras Music Academy. He 
had also composed twenty-four ashtapadis 
on Lord Tyagaraja, the presiding deity of 

in the epoch-making work ‘Chaturdandi 
Pfakasika’, Venkatamakhin has 
systematized the structure on a scientific 
basis classifying the melas based on 

individual swaras of each raga. It is a 
landmark in the annals of Carnatic Music. 
It gives a systematic, scientific classification 
of mela (principal, prime or basic) ragas 
based on swaras for each. The name of 
the work means ‘Exposition or Illumination 
of the four channels through which a raga 
manifests itself.’ Out of the ten chapters, 
the last and a part of the ninth are reportedly 
missing according to Dr. V. Raghavan. 
Twelve hundred and odd couplets that are 
available are in simple, elegant Sanskrit. 

The Melakarta or Janaka-Janya Scheme is 
logical and scientific, rendering the earlier 
adhoc classifications pale into 
insignificance. Venkatamakhin himself 
answers anticipated objections and 
contentions that some melas were neither 
in vogue nor were they required and 
explains Chaturdandi as follows: 

i. Gita, Alapa, Thaya and Prabandha - 
the four channels through which the 
melodic entity of a raga is revealed 
or realised - according to the ‘Sangita 
Saramrita’ of Raja Tulajaji and 

ii. Sthayi. Arohi, Avarohi and Sanchari - 
the four modes of singing according 
to ‘Sangita Suryodaya’ or 
Lakshminarayana (16th century) of 
the Court of Krishna Devaraya. 



Notwithstanding the categorical assertion 
of Venkatamakhin of the absolute necessity 
and relevance of the seventy-two Melas as 
a comprehensive and complete scheme, 
views to the contrary have continued such 
as those of Abraham Pandithar though not 
with success. But experts are agreed on 
the magnificence of the work. 

“It is to Carnatic music what Panini’s 
Ashtadhyayi is to Sanskrit language.” 

Several ragas remain obscure or are heard 
only in demonstrations. 

scholars of remarkable wisdom, geniuses 
in musicology. They have carved out for 
themselves an eloquent place in the history 
of Carnatic music, nay the music systems 
of the world. Venkatamakhin’s disciple, 
Nilakanta Dikshitar was an equally eminent 
scholar, who had authored the work 
‘Nilakanta Vijayam’ (1638 C.E.). Govinda 
Dikshitar and Venkatamakhin are to 
musicology what Ramaswamy Dikshitar 
and Muthuswamy Dikshitar are for musical 
compositions or Ramaswami Sivan and 
Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan are for 
composition and rendition. 

The magnitude of Venkatamakhin’s epoch- 
making work holds up before the 
composers, musicians, etc., the entire 
gamut of permutations and computations 
feasible as alternatives to suit, invoke and 
answer individual ingenuity, tastes and 
preferences. He has given a precise 
framework in the context of the ever- 
growing enormity of the number of janya 
ragas. If more and more ragas are brought 
out to this day, it should be admitted that 
the Melakarta Chakra and the Katapayadi 
have helped the task easier. 
Venkatamakhin asserts that the number is 
72, neither more nor less -36 suddha and 
36 prati madhyamas. The grouping and 
codification of ragas in the Prakasika aided 
by lakshana gitas may look simple but only 

the genius of Venkatamakhin did it 

Father Govinda Dikshitar 
including Venkatamakhin 

and his sons 
were erudite 

Ramaswamy Dikshitar, later Subbarama 
Dikshitar and more recently Kotiswara 
Ayyar and others, have composed songs 
in all the melakarta ragas. Lavani Venkata 
Rao composed a ragamalika in Marathi 
using all the mela ragas, set to music by 
Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar, who brought out 
another in Sanskrit, the ‘Mela ragamalika 
chakram'. This composition is unmatched 
and is the longest of its kind. Dr. M.S. 
Subbulakshmi has rendered it in cassette. 
Venkatamakhin invented raga 
‘Simharavam’. Tha melakarta scheme is an 
open invitation for the inspired to invent 
fresh ragas if the genius of the musician 
has the needed taste and hunger for it. The 
life and attainments of the eminent 
Vekatamakhin deserve the highest place in 
the luminous history of Carnatic music. He 
was indeed the pioneering, prime codifier 
of the law of the ragas. The nation is deeply 
indebted to him and his historic work. □ 



by Dr. Bhuvaneswari G. 

A world without music is like a garden 
without flowers. Nada, the quintessence of 
music is the lifeblood of creation of both 
animate and inanimate objects seen in the 
Universe. Music exudes love (Bhakti), 
imparts peace, grants solace to listeners 
and transforms the lay man to the path of 
philosophy and leads him to Supreme 
Bliss. It is beyond language. It transcends 
caste, creed, colour and religion. Classical 
Indian Music embraces love and bhakti in 
its purest form. The lives of our ancient 
seers, musicians of yonder years, 
vaggeyakaras and the great composers of 
the last century bring out clearly that Bhakti 
was the fountain head of their life, 
bestowing on them supernatural powers, 
which they used in their service to humanity. 
Thirujnana Sambandar, Andal, Narayana 
Thirtha of the pre-Trinity age, the great 
Trinity, Swathi Tirunal and the number of 
composers of the Post Trinity period are 
examples who represented the great 
galaxy of the musical world, who have 
experienced the ultimate reality through 
their Bhakti, blended with music of the 
purest hue. They can be called as God - 
sent messengers who remained as the 
cultural Ambassadors spreading the 
message of love through their 
compositions of sweet music, creating a 
heaven on earth. 

The period 1750 - 1850 (100 years) is the 
golden era in the history of world music. It 
was during this time that the great musical 
geniuses contributed a rich legacy to the 
growth and development of music all over 
the world. In South India, the Trinity - 

Thyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshitar and 
Syama Sastri lived and rendered their 
invaluable contributions. 

In Kerala, there lived the great Royal 
Musician and Composer Swati Tirunal who 
made tremendous contribution to the 
musical repertoire of South India. This was 
a period when Kathakali and Sopana 
Sangita were very popular, being 
patronized by common foik in temples 
where they were practised. Swati Tirunal 
was the glowing star of the 19th century 
after the Trinity, whose contributions in the 
field of music, dance and literature are 
immeasurably great. The bulk of Swati 
TirunaPs compositions are in praise of Lord 
Padmanabha, his favorite deity, evincing his 
ardent Bhakti. Among the Parayana 
Mudrakaras, Swati TirunaPs name stands 
first. The Family deity. Padmanabha 
Swami's blessings and the total devotion 
of Swati Tirunal helped him in creating 
variegated Mudras. 

Swati Tirunal experienced the presence of 
Lord Padmanabha in all his thoughts and 
deeds, culminating in the creation of 
wonderful compositions, identical to the 
experiences Tyagaraja had with Lord Sri 

Swati Tirunal bestowed equal devotion to 
the management of the State as a King and 
yet could contribute immensely to the world 
of music. He was the pioneer in bringing 
the Music of Kerala into the main stream of 
Karnatic Music. He invited musicians from 
different parts of India to his Court and 
honoured and encouraged them, thereby 





he mastered about 18 languages, which 
are reflected in his various musical 
compositions. Swathi Tirunal's Catholicity 
of outlook in the structure and form of 
musical composition is highly remarkable. 
His compositions include simple musical 
forms - Jatiswaram and Swarajati to heavy 
Kritis and group Kritis such as Navaratri 
Kirtis, Navaratnamalika kirtis, Utsava 
Prabandhas, Padam, Javali and Tlliana. He 

has also contributed to North Indian 
Musical forms - Dindi, Abhang, etc., which 
are unrivalled in their quality. The notable 
literary contributions of Swati Tirunal are 
Bhakti Manjari, Padmanabha Satakam, 
Syanandoorapuri Vamana Prabandham 
and two Upakhyanams - Kuchelopakhyanam 
and Ajamilopakhyanam, as also his 
Navavidha Bhakti Kirtis and Utsava 
Prabandham reveal his total surrender to 
God, true to his name “Padmanabha Dasa'\ 

The Navavidha Bhakti Kritis of Swati Tirunal 
stand unique, compared to his other 
contributions. The nine forms of Bhakti 
(form of worship) of Prahlada have been 
described at length in Srimad Bhagavatam 
Saptamaskandam. The story goes like this: 
Despite the sincere and earnest efforts of 
tne preceptors appointed by Hiranya 
Kasipu to dissuade Prahlada from his 
devotion to Narayana, Prahlada's 
unflinching Bhakthi to Lord Vishnu could 

n n ' ln ,act ' il became more 
intense. On an appointed day 

H.ranyakasipu examined his son about his 
attainment, in the presence of his 
preceptors. The beloved father placed h s 
son on h,s lap and asked him in affectionate 
words to tell him the best lesson he his 
learnt so far from his teachers. The reply 
came from Prahlada in , he following 
glorious words: mg 

“ Sravanam Kirtanam Vishno Smaranam Padasevanam 
Archanam Vandanam Dasyam Sakhyam Atmanivedanam 
Iti pumsarpita vishnau Bhakli scha navalakshana 

Sravanam, Kirtanam, Smaranam, 
Padasevanam, Archanam, Vandanam, 
Daasyam, Sakhyam and Atmanivedanam. 
All the Navavidha Bhakti described by 
Prahlada can be discerned in the nine kirtis 
of Swati Tirunal. 

Sravanam : Listening to the exposition of 
His Glory. The first one in this group is 
BHAVADEEYA KATHA - Bhairavi raga - Adi 
tala. In the Pallavi, it is explained that by 
listening to the stories of Lord, one can 
cross the cycle of births and deaths. Swati 
Tirunal has quoted example of sage Vyasa 
who has narrated the brilliant deeds of the 
Lord, which has been retold by sage Suka 
to Pareekshit Maharaja. 

Kirtanam: Chanting the hymns of His Glory. 
In the Pallavi of the Kriti TAVAKA NAMANI, 
Kedaragowla raga, Rupaka tala, it states 
that chanting God’s name is propitious and 
praiseworthy. Just by uttering His divine 
name, even the cruel people attain Moksha. 

Smaranam: Meditating on God is 
Smaranam. Thinking of God in every 
moment of life in thought, deed and action 
is Smaranam. This Bhakti bhavana is 
portrayed through the composition - 
raga, Misrachapu tala. This composition is 
full of Lord’s epithets. Swathi Tirunal is 
addressing Lord as Sarasaksha (Lord 
whose eyes are similar to Lotus). Oh Lord 
of Syanandurapura - 1 always meditate on 
You ceaselessly. 

Padasevanam : Doing service at His feet. 
Bharata s paduka worship is an ideal 
example for Padasevanam. In the Kriti - 

Rupaka Tala, Swati Tirunal shows how 
Lord's Paduka has been, respected by 
carrying on head by fanning Chamaram, 
doing service at his feet with due respect 
and reverence. 

Archanam : Worship of His image is 
Archanam. Swati Tirunal emphasizes 
through the following composition that for 
human beings hands are meant for doing 
Archana to Lord. The various modes of 
worship are portrayed through this 
composition Aradhanam, Bilahari raga. 
Misrachapu tala; I pay my respect to you 
(with my mind, speech and body), Swati 
Tirunal describes how Lord has been 
decorated with Gems, fragrant flowers like 
jasmine, sacred Tulasi, etc. 

Vandanam: Welcoming Him with full 
dedication. Prostrating before God is 
Vandanam. Swati Tirunal has composed 
many kritis with the idea of conveying his 
Salutations to God. Vande Deva Deva, 
Begada raga, Rupaka tala composition is 
particularly included in this group 
conveying salutations at God’s feet. Oh! 
Lord of Gods, I bow and worship your lotus 
feet. Lord’s feet are compared to sacred 

Dasyam: Attending to Lord as a Servant. 
Rendering service to Lord and deriving 
pleasure out of it is another kind of Bhakti 
marga. This idea is implied in the 
composition of Swati Tirunal eg. 
Paramapurusha nanu - Ahiri raga, 
Misrachapu tala. This composition is an 
•deal one for Dasya bhava. Swati Tirunal 
says: All my actions whether good or bad, 
whatever I eat, speak, touch or smell, all 
that I offer to you as your humble servant. 

Sakhyam: feeling friendship. Keeping a 

friendly relationship with God is the Sakhya 
form of Bhakti. Kuchela’s relationship with 
Lord Krishna’s an ideal example for this 
type of Bhakti etc. “Bhavati vishwasome” 
Mukhari raga, Misra Chapu tala. In this 
composition, he prays - please make me 
fully confident by trusting you. Even in the 
testing period with great miseries and 
problems. You are the saviour. So make me 
confident, to believe you as a friend. 

Atmanivedanam: Total and complete 
surrender to HIM. In this Bhakti aspect, 
there is no difference between Bhakta and 
God. This is considered Supreme among 
the Navavidha Bhakti eg. Deva deva 
Kalpayami - Nadanamakriya raga. Rupaka 
tala - Oh! Lord of heaven. I pay my pranams 
at your Lotus feet. This composition is full 
of epithets of Lord Padmanabha. Swati 
Tirunal prays to Lord to destroy completely 
the sins of his previous births with His Grace 
and requests Lord to protect him. 

Swati Tirunal is great. His contributions to 
the music world are greater. His erudition, 
total involvement in musical pursuits and 
complete surrender to the deity 
Padmanabha brought erstwhile Travancore 
in the forefront of the musical world. 

It will not be an exaggeration to call him 
the Tyagaraja of Travancore as many of his 
compositions are almost identical to those 
of Thyagaraja in the inner thoughts backed 
with Bhakti. 

Carnatic music and Bhakti are inseparable. 
Blessed are those who revel in music with 
total devotion and absolute abnegation. 
Swati Tirunal Maharaja is a shining example 
of bhakti imbibed through songs in praise 
of God, the Almighty. O 





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Radha Sarangapani Lecturer, Potti Sriramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad 

Saint Sri Tyagaraja was a great music 
composer and veteran scholar who is 
recognised for his poetic excellence, He 
mastered the particular musical form “Kriti” 
and popularized it in the Carnatic music 
system. There are many publications 
relating to the compositions of Thyagaraja 
in many South Indian Languages and in 

The earliest work available to us is the 
“Sangita Sarvartha Sara Sangrahamu" 
written by Sri Vina Ramanuja, which was 
published in 1859. This work had listed 
many kritis of Sri Tyagaraja along with 
notations for 15 kritis. Later many authors 
T. M. Venkatesa Sastri, Taccur 
Singaracharyulu brothers, Subbarama 
Diksitar, Nadamuni Panditar, P. Ramulu 
Setti, K. V. Srinivasa Ayyangar and others 
have published Tyagaraja kritis in the 
Telugu language. 

More than 800 Kirtanas are available to us 
in ragas such as Bindumalini, Jingala, 
Srimani, Sruti Ranjani, Revagupti, Suddha 
Seemantini, Kesari, Chittaranjani, 

Nadatarangini, Simhavahini, Jujahuli, 
Vasantavarali, Svaravali, Chandrajyoti, 
Mayuradhwani, Sarvabhushani, Bahudari, 
Kolahalam, Vardhani, Vivardhini, 
Jayantasri, Pratapavarali, Kalakanthi, 
Phalamanjari, PurnaShadja, Amritavahini, 
Gopikavasanta, Hidolavasanta, 
Kokilavarali, Tivravahini, Balahamsa, 
Ragapanjaram, Mandari, Vijayasri, 
Devamritavarshini, Suddhadesi, Malavi, 
Rupavati, Navarasa Kannada, Rudrapriya 
and Andolika. 

All the above mentioned ragas are seen in 
Telugu publications brought out before 
1 930 . But the names of some of the ragas 
varied from one publication to another. I 
have listed 40 Kritis from Telugu 
publications. The present article in going 
to deal with the variations in raga names in 
Tyagaraja Kritis found in the Telugu 
publications before 1930 . 

Every example is accompanied with the 
purva & present names mentioned in 
different publications. 

For example the Kriti “Entanerchina” Udayaravichandrika (Present name) 

Saraswati Manohari (Earlier name) 

Is listed in Sangita Sarvartha Sara Sangraham (1859) as Saraswati Manohari 

while in Sri Tyagaraja Charitram (1916) 

Sangita Pradayini (1916) 

it is listed as 

Sangitananda Ratnakaram (1917) and 

Udaya Ravichandrika 

Sangitamrta Kirtanalu (1929) 



As for the Kriti “Entaranitana ' Harikambhoji (present name) 

Kharaharapriya (Earlier name) 

The publications Sri Tyagaraja Swami Charitram (1916) 

Gandharva Kalpavalli (1 929) list the raga as 

Sangitananda Ratnakaram (1 91 7) and Harikambhoji 

Sangita amrita Kirtanalu (1929) 

While in Sangitasarvartha Sara Sangrahamu it is listed as Kharaharapriya 

The Kriti “Edari Sancharintu” Kantamani (Present name) 

‘Sruti ranjani (Earlier name) 

is listed in Sri Tyagaraja Swami Charitram (1916) as Sruti Ranjani and as Kantamani in 
Sangitamrta Kirtanalu (1929) 

The kriti “Evarani Nirnayinchirira” - Devamrita Varshini (present name) 

Nada Chintamani & Kharaharapriya (earlier name) 

Is listed in Gayaka Siddhanjanam (1 905) 

Gayaka Lochanam (1962) 

Gandharva Kalpavalli (1911) and as Nadachintamani 

Sangita Kalanidhi (1912) 

as Nadachintamani 

it is listed as 

the name is listed as 
Devamrita Varshini 

while in Sri Tyagaraja Swami Charitram (1916) it is listed as 

Karahar apriya 

Sa93ram the name is lisl 

Devamrita Vars 

As for Evarikai yavatara -Devamanohari (present name) 

Apurup am (earlier name) 

rhe ra g^te7^^, in Ksetrayya Padamulu (1876) 

Tyagaraja Kirtanalu (1881) 

Gayana Gayani Jana Parijatam (1898) 

In other pu blications such as 

s*" 9i ! a — I 

Sangitamrta Kirtanalu (1 92m 1 ’ 

Gayaka Siddhanjanam (1905) 

Gayaka Parijatam (1877) !t ls listed as 

Ganamrtam (1 893) and Devamanohari 

_ Sn T y a g ar aja Hrdavam (1922) 



The kriti Orajupu Juchedi Kannada Goula (present name) 

Simharavam (E arlier name) 

js listed in Sangita Sarvartha r~ 

"and in Sangita Kalanidhi (1912) 

Sri Tyagaraja Swami Charitram (1916) 

Sangita Pradayini (1916) 

Sri Tyagaraja Hrdayam (1922) 

Pravida Ganam (Date of pu blication not known) 

The kriti Kaligiyunte Kiravani (present name) 

Varunapriya ( earlier name) 

Is listed in Sangita Sarvartha Sara Sangraham (1859) 

Sri Tyagaraja Kirtanalu (1881) and 
Gayaka Lochanam (1902) 

While in Sri Tyagaraja Swami Charitram (1916), 

Sri Tyagaraja Hrdayam (1922) and 
Sangitamrta Kirtanalu (1929) 

as Simharavam 

as Kannadaa Goula 

as Varunapriya 

it is listed as Kiravani 

As for Jnanamosagarada PurviKalyani (present name) 

Yamuna & Shadvidhamargini (earlier name/s) 

The Sangita Sarvartha Sara Sangraham (1 859), 

Sri Tyagaraja Kirtanalu (1881) list it as Yamuna 

Gayana Gayani Jana Parijatam (1898) and 

Is listed in Sri Tyagaraja Swami Charitram (1916) as Shadvidhamargini 


Kharaharapriya (present name) 
Natabhairavi (earlier name) 

Sangita Sarvartha Sara Sangraham (1859) 

Sri Tyagaraja Swami Charitram (1916) 

Teliyaleru Dhenuka (present name) 

Todi (earlier name) 

Sangita Swayambodhini (1892) 

^ Ganamrtam (1893) 

Gayaka Lochanam (1902) 

Sri Tyagaraja Swami Charitram (1916) 

Sri Tyagaraja Hrdayam (1 922) 

Nata Bhairavi 





Dandamubettenura Balahamsa (present name) 

Purna Chandrika (earlier name) 

Sangita Sarvartha Sara Sangrahamu (1851) 

Purna Chandrika 

Tvaaaraja Kirtanalu (1881) 

Gayaka Lochanam (1902) 

Sri Tyagaraja Swami Charitram (1916) 


Sangitamrta Kirtanalu (1929) 

Nagumomugalavani Madhyamavati (present name) 

Punnagavarali (earlier name) 

Sangita Sarvartha Sarasangrahamu (1859) 


Sri Tyagaraja Swami Charitram (1916) 


Nannugannatalli Sindhu Kannada (present name) 

Kesari (earlier name) 

Sangita Svayambodhini (1892) 

Ganamrtamu (1893) 

Gayaka Siddhanjanam (1905) 

Sangita Kalanidhi (1912) 

Sindhu Kannada 

Sri Tyagaraja Swami Charitram (1916) 

Sangitamrta Kirtanalu (1929) 


Nannubrova Abhogi (present name) 

Vira vasanta (earlier name) 

dngita Sarvarthasara Sangraham ( 1859 ) 

Gayaka Parijatam ( 1877 ) 

Prathamabhyasa Pustakamu (1905) 

Gayaka Siddhanjanam (1905) 

Sangita Vidya Darpanam ( 1910 ) 

Sn Tyagaraja Swami Charitram ( 1916 ) 

Sangita Pradayini ( 1916 ) 

Sangitamrta Kirtanalu ( 1929 ) 

Tyagaraja Kirtanalu ( 18 R 1 ) 


Gayana Gay^u^"— 

'jaiQI II ^ 1 OUo) 


Ninuvina Namadi Navarasa Kannada (present name) 
K a linga (earlier name) 

Sangita Sarvartha Sara Sangraham ( 1859 ) 

Tyagaraja Kirtanalu (1881) 


Sangita Svayam Bodhini (1892) 

Ganamrtamu (1893) 

Gayaka Siddhanjanam (1905) 

Sangita Kalanidhi (1912) 

Sri Tyagaraja Swami Charitram (1916) 

Sri Tyagaraja Hrdayam (1922) 

Sangitamrta Kirtanalu (1929) 

Navarasa Kannada 

Niravadhi Sukha Ravichandrika (present name) 

Dhira Sankarabharanam (earlier name) 

Sangita Sarvarthasara Sangraham (1859) 

Dhira Sankarabharanam 

Sri Tyagaraja Swami Charitram (1916) 

Sangitananda Ratnakaram (1917) 

Sri Tyagaraja Hrdayam (1922) 

Sangita Sudhambudhi (1929) 

Sangitamrta Kirtanalu (1929) 


Nenarunchi Malavi (present name) 

Harikambhoji (earlier name) 

Sangita Sarvartha Sara Sangraham (1859) 

Tyagaraja Kirtanalu (1881) 


Sangita Svayam Bodhini (1892) 

Gayaka Siddhanjanam (1905) 

Sangita Pradayini (1916) 

So Tyagaraja Swami Charitram (1916) 

Sri Tyagaraja Hrdayam (1922) 

Sangitamrta Kirtanalu (1929) 


(cont. next issue) 




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by Prof. (Dr.) T. Unnikrishnan Dean Famitunf m 

Khairagarh, Chhattisgam''' ** San * Vh *««^- 

Culture of a society is based on the 
traditions and customs handed over from 
generation to generation. Aesthetic culture 
is the strong regulator of the behavior of 
people. It is no surprise then, that music 
which is very much associated with 
aesthetic culture, has an impact on human 
psyche and behaviour. 

Ragas and emotions 

Various ragas produced by the different 
swaras result in different emotions. For 
example while singing the Madhya Sthayi 
Shadjam, it is produced in the speaking 
voice in the chest register. The muscular 
effort to produce this swara is 

appreciation and self- 
confidence are 
expressed. Teevra 

Madhyama produces the 
feeling of misery and pain and thrives for 
an immediate relief and experiences it in 
the next swara Pancham. The same stages 
of emotions of mind can be expressed 
while singing from Dhaivatham to the 
Tharasthayi Shadjam. 

Shri H.R Krishna Rao has explained the 
emotions of the swaras as - 

"S and P are tranquil notes 
R1 and D1 indicates disturbance 
R2 and D2 are perceptions 

comparatively little as the vocal apparatus 
is accustomed to it. The swara Sa has a 
highly peaceful effect on the mind and the 
body with relaxed facial muscles akin to a 
yogi during meditation. Next swara Komal 

G1 and N1 indicate disagreeableness 
G2 and N1 indicate inquiry 
Ml denotes optimism or egoism 
M2 denotes degradation” 1 

Rishabh produces a sorrowful feeling and>^*u . . . . . Different rasas can be produced by the 

slightly upsets the mind with a tendency to , . .. x _ . , y 

roap u . e T I. * u - . . combination of swaras. Pairs of swaras 

reach to Sa. Till this note reaches shadja , ... , .. . _ . 0 „ , 

... n „ . . . . x . • having the frequency ratio: 1:2 or 2:3 or 3:4 

we experience a kind of uneasy feeling in ... . . 

the mind. But when Teevra nshabhais sung gnd |(s panchama and a swara and |ts 

J awakens the mind from this state as it komg| madhyama when combined 

has the capacity to wipe out the sleepy together produce a soothing effect 

e e ing and to bring the mind to ull Similarly, a combination of komal rishabha 

consciousness. But again in Komal gnd kQma| gandhara 

give a feeling of 

andhar we feel the same kind of melancholy. The classification of swaras to 

uneasiness. In Teevra Gandhar a soft but v a di, Samvadi. Anuvadi and Vivadi are 

■nquisitive tone as to the cause of the established based on this theory. Formation 

•sturbance may be found. When Komal ’Page 23, The psychology of music, H.P. Krishna Rao, 

Madhyama is sung the feeling Of self- Asian Educational Services, New Delhi - 1 984. 




of the swaras with different frequencies 
contributes the emotional colors of a raga. 
The tampura sruthi also has equal 
importance, as it is the meter through which 
the frequency relationships of the swaras 
are experienced. 


Psychology and Physiology are interlinked. 
The emotions of mind have bodily 
accompaniments. Each and every feeling 
like joy, anger, excitement, fear and sorrow 
gives different expressions on the face. 
When the mind is in a state of tranquility 
the facial expression will be of peace similar 
to meditation. A singer through the 
vibrations of sound can experience this 
state of mind. Sound has a direct influence 
on consciousness. The mind, which 
involves in Nada does not get disturbed or 
diverted by external objects. Hence it is a 
tool to achieve concentration and control 
over the mind. This is Nadayoga. 

.Bharata has referred to the human body 
as Sariri Veena’. The body first produces 
Swaras. It is evident in the following sloka- 

*ri: m ygffiftlT; | 

iNt feuftSTO 1 1 30 1 1 

TOft iroftr I 

As per yoga theory, good health is the 
balanced flow of energy through all the 
energy points of body and mind. The body 

W " react when this normal flow is 
interrupted. This reaction of the body o r 
mind results in unhealthy symptoms 
! gg ^-^!Sgg§l Nada yoga hL n^ 

power to establish the lost flow of this vital 
energy normalizing it through the mind. 

Music and yoga are two interrelated 
subjects. Yoga practice is highly beneficial 
for a musician to purify the breathing 
apparatus and also to develop the vocal 
mechanism by increasing the quality of 
voice. The three steps of Pranayama are 
Rechaka (Exhalation), Puraka (Inhalation) 
and Kumbhaka (Retention). These 3 stages 
of Pranayama have direct effect on the 
physical and psychological health of a 
human being. Pranayama has great 
influence on vocology, the science of right 
voice production. Prana means vital energy 
and Ayama means to expand. Control over 
the breathing apparatus is necessary to 
increase this energy level to produce a 
powerful and melodious voice to express 
all the rasas of the music without any 

Paramahansa Nirajananda says - “At the 
time of pooraka, inhalation, when apana is 
rising through ida nadi, there is incredibly 
cold sensation. It is as if the whole being is 
entering into a state of hibernation: there is 
a feeling of total withdrawal. It is the last 
stage of sensory withdrawal that a person 
can have on the psychic level. The yogic 
texts also state that at the time of rechaka. 
exhalation, when prana is reversed there 
is a feeling of total void, where nothing 
actually comes to the surface of the mind. 
The mind goes absolutely blank. In 
kumbhaka, when prana and apana are 
rnerged at manipura, at agnimandala, then 

9 arSan ‘ 5/7 Pan chdashanam Paramahamsa, 
Alakh Bara, Bihar - 1993, Page No. 150 



all the modifications or vrithis of the mind 
cease to function” 3 . 

While singing also, a musician performs the 
stages of pooraka & rechaka. Quick 
inhalation and regulated exhalation of air 
is performed while singing. The ultimate 
aim of a yogi is to achieve spiritual 
realization or moksha. A musician also can 
attain this state of mind by singing the glory 
of Almighty through melodious sounds 
Nadayoga is based on Sabda Samvedana 
meaning observation of the vibration of 
sounds produced from inside or outside. 
Sound is a form of energy and by observing 
sound, we absorb the energy within us 
Nada is also a media for concentration as 
the mind is always attached to different 
forms of sound. When we start observing 
the sound it touches the consciousness 
and the soul experiences the tranquility of 
mind. There is a close relation between 
Swar Sadhana (practice of breathing - in 
yogic language, swara means the rhythm 
of breathing) and Sur Sadhana (practice 
of singing). Sur sadhana is totally based 
on Swar sadhana as we cannot produce 
any sound without inhalation and 

In the context of the origin of Nada, 
Matanga has given ‘Nirukthi’ for the word 
Nada and that too is influenced by yoga. 

is beej mantra for pranavayu (vital air) 
and '<r stands for fire. Pranavayu & fire give 
birth to ‘Nada’. 

ii 6 1 1 4 

4 Edited by - Pt. S. Subramanya Sastri - 1949, ^ 

Musical sound or Nada is said to manifest 
itself by the interaction of fire (energy) and 
air (i,e. breath) in the region of the body 
extending from the Manipura Chakra to the 
Visuddhi Chakra, i.e. from the navel to the 
throat. The principle involved is that the 
grosser the medium of sound production 
the lower the pitch of the sound produced 
and vice versa. This explains the ‘gatra 
veena’ in yogic terms. This is similar to the 
relation between the vibrating string and 
the pitch value of the notes produced. The 
lesser the length of the string, the higher is 
the pitch. This principle too was discovered 
by the yogis in the operation of the gatra 
veena. which is plucked at its upper 
extremity where vocal organ (vocal 
apparatus) is located” 5 . 

Music and Medicine 

Music has the power to produce various 
types of feelings in human mind like 
melancholy, excitement and a state of 
ecstasy. Feelings/emotions/attitude/ state 
of mind, call it what you will, form a major 
factor in how quickly and well a patient 
heals, whether he is ailing from a physical 
or psychological illness. Hence, modern 
science and medicine are now exploring 
the healing powers of music for treatment 
of patients with psychological and physical 
ailments. In the west it has been accepted 
as a form of treatment and many 
experiments are conducted for the 
treatment of various diseases. 

A case study mentioned in the seminar of 

'Music and sound is yoga- Vimala Musalagaonkar, 
Psychology of Music - Report of Seminar 1975 Sang it 
Natak Academy, New Delhi. 



Sangit Natak Academy is quite interesting. 
"Cortazzi studied the effect of music on the 
behavioural problems of 12 female adults 
of age below 25. Her attempt was at 
reinstating these subjects in normal 
hospital setting. The subjects participated 
in music activities for an hour per day for 9 
months after which the introducing of 
primary school activities followed At the 
end of 4 years. 4 subjects proved to be 
complete failures while 4 subjects 
integrated successfully in the occupational 
therapy unit as full time members of the 
hospital. 4 subjects though requiring 
attention, were (a) able to accept 
relationship with some equanimity, (b) 
beginning to learn from each other, and (c) 
showing an increase in concentration 
span. 6 ’’ 

Many diseases are developed due t 
psychological problems. It is an accepte 
fact that music stimulates the pituitary glan 
whose secretions affect the nervou 
system. All the negative aspects of life lik 
anger, worry, selfishness and ego are th 
major feelings leading the mind to stres< 
inferuDnty complex, depression, anxiet^ 
hypertension and various othe 
psychological disorders ending with hial 
and ow blood pressure and man oS 
similar diseases. A relaxed mind anc 
positive emotions can plav a vital i • 
maintaining p, op „ hea|| » “ » 

music helps cultivatP ? 

such as optimism and self^onrH 0 *' 001 
„e,a w is main, aSSS“ 


the mind. Listening to good music helps to 
control the emotions. There must be 
correct diagnosis of the disease for 
prescribing the type of music or ragas that 
will be helpful. Individual taste also must 
be taken into consideration. The word 
music refers to vocal and Instrumental 
music. Again there are different styles like 
Western music, Hindustani Music, Karnatic 
and light music. The type of music must 
be selected as per the individual taste and 
the musical intelligence of the listener. The 
simplest form, which can be applied for all, 
is ‘music meditation’. It is the chanting of 
‘OM’ with three or four selected swaras with 
different variations of Komal and Teevra. 
Producing these swaras in the correct 
frequency through a melodious voice 
attracts the mind and vibrates the cells of 
the body. The bliss experienced through 
these vibrations can change the 
consciousness of a person effectively. 

This relaxes all the nerves and muscles of 
the body and helps the system to gain 
strength and energy. Patients of blood 
pressure, insomnia, mental diseases and 
heart troubles will get remarkable relief. 
There is no comparison to the human voice 
for the fullest expression of the intricacies 
of music. Human voice is not only meant 
for speaking but also for singing. The 
compass of speech rarely exceeds half an 
octave normally while speaking. But a 
cultivated voice will be able to sing in all 
the three octaves. 

Music therapy is an accepted form of 
treatment in the west. It has existed in the 
u.b.A since around 1944 when the first- 


SHANM ^oj Uly . SEPTEMBER2007 

degree programme in the world was 
founded at Michigan State University. There 
are many other national and international 
organizations such as the Nordoff Robbins 
Center for Music Therapy and The Bonnv 
Institute. Clinical Music Therapy in Britain 
was pioneered is the 60s and 70s by French 
cellist Juliet Alvin. There are courses in 
Music Therapy in Bristol, Cambridqe 
Edinburgh and London. ’ 

In India, The Raga Research Centre 
Chennai is conducting studies on Indian 
ragas to evaluate the therapeutic effects 
with the help of musicians and doctors 
Pankaja Kasthuri Ayurvedic Medical 
College, Trivandrum, Kerala has recently 
introduced a 6 months course in music 
therapy for creating music therapists. For 
instance, in Karnatic music Nilambari raga 
can create the sleepy feeling. 
Sleeplessness can be treated by making 
the affected person listen to this raga. 
Similarly Malayamarutam raga has the 
capacity to awaken a sleepy person. 

In India the wonderful effects of music are 
yet to be explored. All children must be 
provided the facility to learn this art, since 
m u s i c also influences the formation of 
character and behavior of a person. The 
action of man is the result of exercise of 
W HI power and nerve power. "A musical 
sound has to pass through the tympanum. 

|he middle ear, the sensory nerve, the brain, 
efore it can extend its influences over the 
°dy through the motor nerves. These 
JJg ffnt physical agents concerned in the 

Pf Pa ^ e 14 ’ The psychology of music, H. P Krishna 
°> Asian Educational Services, New Delhi - 1984. 

Production of a musical effect must be 
healthy.” 7 

Every citizen must be motivated to listen to 
good music by popularizing the values and 
enefits of this art form. Good music has 
the power to create tranquility in a person. 
A little training in music can contribute to 
the development of a good and well- 
rounded personality. Music is a divine art 
and through it, one can experience the 
supreme reality, which cannot be explained 
in words. Music is neither visible nor 
touchable; it cannot be tasted or smelt. 
Music is heard and when the ear perceives 
the vibrations of the sound, the mind 
experiences infinite bliss as it touches the 
emotional sphere of human 
consciousness. Music has the power to 
arouse different sentiments depending 
upon its nature & style and the emotional 
state and the listening capacity of the 
listener. Music is heard in different ways as 
per the individual intelligence and 
emotional status of the listener. 

It has certainly been proved that music is a 
subject not only for entertainment but also 
for clinical management. But there is a need 
for proper studies on the systems of music. 

In India this area is yet to be exploited in a 
proper way with encouragement for more 
research by Government agencies and 
Universities. If this is included in the 
curriculum of the music departments of the 
Universities, especially as a subject of 
specialization at the RG. level, tremendous 
results can be achieved and definitely it will 
give a new dimension to music and 
musicians. □ 



HViiA c ^omfdun£nl&' 




C/o. 6, Chadha Building, 

3, Sion Road, 

Mumbai -400 01 9. 

Res.: 2402 1871 / 2401 1664 



FROM ragas to riches 

by Shri T. 

The raga system is a contribution by the 
Indian sub-continent unique to the World 
of music. Matanga, the ancient Indian 
musicologist (9-1 oth Century AD) was 
perhaps the earliest writer to define a raaa 
'Raga', he said ‘is the kind of sound 
composition consisting of melody 
movements which has the effect of 
colouring the hearts of men 

A raga in Indian music is a melodic 
abstraction, which finds its existence 
somewhere between a scale and a fixed 
melody. Some authors have coined a new 
word to define a raga: ‘melodic scale’. 

Indian ragas, which are formed by a series 
of swaras are melodies with a difference. 
They differ from their Western counterparts 
in terms of the flexibility they enjoy in the 
treatment of their notes. They are just not 
mere melodies; they are not based on 
precise frequencies of the mechanical 
notes, but on a notion of swaras, the self 
shining entities that could easily get 
decomposed into partials and harmonics. 

It is the appropriate inclusion of these 
partials that renders a raga unique and sans 
pareil. Further, the concept of anuswaras 
or semi-tones and their relevance in 
determining the characteristics of a raga 
Indicate the extent to which the 
m anipulative mind of the Indians could go! 

I* Is the Indian genius again which has 
recognized that ragas are not just 
conceived for sensual entertainment alone. 

As their vibrations can touch one's interiors, 
they could be made use of as a powerful 
t°°l ' n the treatment of ailments concerning 

'■ Sairam 

the body, mind and spirit. Anuswaras, 
which render richness in variety and depth 
to the raga system, in right combination can 
even work therapeutic wonders. Unlike in 
the Western system, the raga system allows 
: rather welcomes - anuswaras. However, 
it would not mean that any anuswara can 
be given a free access to any raga, as there 
exists rigid conventions in their selection 
for depicting a particular raga. 

The immense scope offered through 
permutation and combination of swaras 
makes it possible to produce an equivalent 
raga for every Western scale. For example, 
Nattai, a Carnatic raga (Hindustani 
equivalent: Jog) is an equivalent raga for 
the Blue Scale. The Lydian Scale is 
represented by the Carnatic raga. Kalyani 
(Hindustani equivalent: Yaman). The major 
scale in Western music has an equivalent 
in the Carnatic raga Sankarabharanam. 
(Bilawal Thaat in the Hindustani school). 

While music as a whole is well recognized 
for its entertainment value throughout the 
globe, it was the Indian genius that could 
work out a subtle relationship between the 
sound and the living organisms. By 
categorizing the otherwise universal sound 
into specific ragas and raginis, an elaborate 
system of music could be evolved through 
permutation and combination of talas, 
swaras and bhavas. It is the prescription of 
a particular combination of all these 
components that renders the character or 
individuality to a particular raga. which 
makes it unique in the Universe of sound 



Each raga, depending on its 
characteristics, can recall or intensify 
certain emotions or their combinations in 
listeners. Emotions, such as, anger, fear, 
lust, joy, depression etc. could be 
accentuated depending on the emotional 
spectrum inherent in a particular raga. The 
ancient and contemporary Indian theatre 
and cinema have been exploiting these 
characteristics hidden in swara-clusters 
(proof-ragas) and also ragas to create the 
required feelings in audience. It is well 
recognized that music could induce a 
stronger and quicker impact as compared 
to any spoken word or for that matter even 
non-verbal gestures or mimes. 

Certain ragas do have a direct impact on 
emotions. This feature has made its 
application iri theatre and in cinema, to 
create pathos, joy and suspense in the 
minds of the audience. 

In one of the systems of classification, there 
are six fundamental raga-scales from which 
1 26 derivatives (raginis or wives and putras 
or sons) emerge. Each of these six 
fundamental ragas has a natural 
correspondence with certain hours of the 
day as a day is divided in to six tranches 
and also seasons of the year. 

The following table attempts to simplify: 

The fundamental 

Time of the day 



Expected attitudinal 




Universal love 











August to September 



Twilight hours 


Pure Love 





Vet another system outlines 72 thaats or 
scales called metakana from which a vast 
range of raga experience could be derived. 

The beauty about the Indian raga system 

tho^' lt .° fferS endless opportunities for 
those who are musically-inclined for 

constant .mprovisation around a fixed 

melodic scale. Depending on the definite 
mood or a central theme, one could 
embroider and decorate this melodic scale 
through one’s enthusiasm, originality, 
mental make-up and emotional fall out. The 
musician is hardly bound by a set of notes 
or notions ( -j 





by Smt. Sudha Subramaniam 

A reci b' ent of innumerable titles, awards initially S, 
and accolades, ranging from Sangeetha teamt music 
Saraswathi from the Mahasannidhanam of her ! 
Sringeriin 1993; Isa, Peroli from Kart, k Fine Choodaman 

Arts, Chenna,; Bharat Jyoti from Bharatiya about seve 
Vidya Bhavan, New York, 1998 , M.L.V elgTyZ 
Award, 1998; to Padmashri Award by the was 7u 
Government of India 2004, Rajiv Gandhi tutored for 
Award by the Union Minister of State, Viswanathan 
G.K.Vasan in Chennai on 23rd August 2007, Lakshmana 

Doctorate by the International University of Economics, 
Music, Colombo and so on Sudha has a world of mus 

number of musical releases to her credit received f 
like ‘Sri Madhava’ (Papanasam Sivan scholarship 
krithis), ‘Karuna Joodavamma- The Essential back. Her try 
Album', ‘Aadikkondaar Anda Vedikkai-the a Guru-Sish) 
dance of Siva , and others. strength with 

‘Music knows no you and me. It belongs to 
everyone who sings. Call it Sudha 's ultimate 
tribute to her Guru '-thus said M.L. 
Vasanthakumari, Sudha Raghunathan's 
Guru and mentor. Sudha would take pride 
in doing even the smallest of tasks for M.L.V. 
Among women, Sudha says, “ M.S. 
Subbulakshmi, D.K. Pattamal and M.L. 
Vasanthakumari are definitely the trinity of 
tndian music. Pattamal had a strong 
Pathanthara for rendering krithis and M.S. 
Amma remained unrivalled and 
unsurpassed. M.L.V had such a strong 
foundation that she never needed to 
Practice for her katcheris. " 

Initially, Sudha 
learnt music from 
her mother 

Choodamani, for 
about seven to 
eight years. She _ 
was further 

tutored for about three years by TV. 
Viswanathan, then by B.V. Raman and B.V. 
Lakshmanan. A post-graduate in 
Economics, Sudha owes her entry into the 
world of music to her mother and when she 
received her Government of India 
scholarship in 1977, there was no looking 
back. Her tryst with M.L.V began and it was 
a Guru-Sishya relationship that gained in 
strength with each passing day. At M.L.V's 
behest, Sudha or Kanyakumari would often 
record songs of musicians like 
T.M. Thyagarajan and others on tape. M.L.V. 
would polish the new songs in her unique 
way and as this was being done, the 
students would imbibe the song. 

Sudha says she owes a lot to her in-laws 
who encouraged her all the way, to her 
husband Raghu, who was always there to 
support her art and to her children Kaushik 
and Malvika who lovingly understood that 
they had to excuse her presence many -a - 

Today Kaushik is studying for his PH.D in 
the USA, Malvika is in 12th and Sudha is 



forever striking a great balance between 
loving wife, caring daughter-in-law, doting 
mother and ardent performer. She also has 
to her credit the ‘Samudaaya Foundation ' a 
trust she launched for Social Welfare 
activities on 20th July 1999. The Trust 
covers a wide spectrum of activities ranging 
from music to education and many 
charitable causes. 

The first time we caught her, she was on 
her way to a kutcheri. The second time we 
caught her, she was going out of the country 
for a week and the third time we caught her 
she had been caught by the television 
people! So much for ‘Really hard to get’. 
Anyway, we did not deter and we have for 
you, your very own Sudha Raghunathan and 
what she has to say 

Q) Which is your favourite piece? 

Ans) It is very difficult to choose and sa' 
In tune with our changing moods, th 
changing scenario, the changini 
seasons, our choice of Raga am 
song for different occasions wouli 
differ. It also depends to a grea 
extent on what we feel the audienci 
would appreciate and would like t( 
listen to. Among composers and thei 
compositions, Dikshithar has a lot c 
majesty (Akhilandeshwari) 

Thyagarajakrithis are splendid. Ilov, 

SnnTT SlVan ' Shyama Shas M 

Kannada krithis, Tamil Bharatiyaa 
songs and others. ... At competitions 

K iSSSLirr.S 

Smarane Madho...' ; 

many lovely songs in which you 
totally lose yourself and blend with 
the flow of the melody, the lilt of the 
notes, the meaning of the words, the 
depth of the bhava, the rhythm of the 

Q) As a Post-Graduate in Economics, 
do you feel that your knowledge of 
Economics has in any way helped 
you in the realm of music? 

Ans) Macro-economics lends its flavour to 
the demand and supply in the 
musical world too. Perhaps my 
knowledge of Economics enables 
me to gain an insight into the 
happening world and perceive the 
strains of economics even in music. 
However, although Economics is an 
interesting subject, for me it is music 
that speaks the language of my heart. 

Q) What is your view of global trends 
and changes in music? 

Ans) Trends do change. Every five to ten 
years there is a major change. While 
I keep my roots firmly entrenched in 
Carnatic music, my priorities are very 
straight. Although w.e spread our 
branches far and wide, we must 
never lose our roots. For we are like 
Ambassadors of our nation, who 
spread our unique culture and values 
through the medium of music to even 
the far-flung and remote corners of 
the globe. Ten years ago, the Western 
nations couldn’t differentiate much 
between Carnatic and Hindustani 
music. All Indian music was basically 


SHWMUm *°^-SBPTEm e „2007 

thought to be Hindustani. The music 

ttr e noTh thasdifferent,romtha '°f 

the north is now gaining more 
popularity overseas. The Sydney 
music tests are well received At 

twassnowin 9 heav| iy ah 

hromh W f anS rt Were "' tera " y sh °uting 
through fourteen inches of snow' I 

performed and was profoundly 

surprised to find a highly expectam 

crowd that was mesmerized for 
around three to four hours! 

Among the recent trends, 
Jugalbandi’ is a challenging 
experimentation. There is a | so the 
welcome trend of understanding 
different streams of music, music 
travelling places... Carnatic music is 
today even reaching remote places 
in Norway and Sweden. 

But whatever the trends (even online 
teaching), I feel the importance of the 
Guru, the feel of presence, the 
vibrations that flow between the Guru 
and the Sishya are very important 
and essential things that cannot be 
dispensed with, otherwise there is 
that special something missing.... 

Q) Which is your favourite dish? 

Ans) I am quite a simpleton in food habits. 
What you eat matters in the way you 
live. We have a hectic travel schedule. 
When we are performing we need to 
take care of our voice. I believe in 
eating Satvik food that nourishes the 
body and the mind. Basically I love 

koottu, Avial, Vethakkuzhambu. I 
relish fried dishes like Poriyal (made 
of arum, of raw banana), cauliflower 
roast, the Andhra dish of kattrika 
(brinjal) and onion called ‘Noove- 
venkaya (a gravy dish). I love North 
Indian dishes too. Rumali roti and 
Paneer mutter are my all-time 

Q) What do you have to say about 

Ans) A wholesome rendition necessitates 
good accompanists. In fact, the right 
way to express it would be, ‘A Family 
On Stage'. We work as one family, 
each person doing his or her role 
well, in order to ensure the success 
of the performance. We need to 
constantly encourage and motivate 
one another to perform well, to 
perform in full spirit and to enjoy what 
we do, for that is the only way to really 
do it well. A good accompanist’s job 
is even harder than the singer’s, I 
would say. For he has to gauge the 
mood, the pause, the temperament; 
have the knowledge not only of the 
beats and the rhythm but also of the 
song, the structure, the shruti and the 
laya. Moreover, the accompanist 
must be content with the importance 
given to him/her. although their role 
is of paramount importance. That is 
one job which is not at all easy. 

Q) You are known to be an ardent 
devotee of Sathya Sai Baba. How 



is that? 

Ans) I feel that Sathya Sai Baba’s 
blessings are with me and have been 
with me throughout. Puttaparthi Sai 
Baba did my namakaranam, 
aksharabhyasam and ear-boring 
ceremony. He named me Geetha 
Sudha and said that he would call me 
Geetha and I would be Sudha for the 
rest of the world. 

Q) You have been involved in teaching 
the nuances of classical music to 
the next generation? What would 
you like to say of your students? 

Ans) My students love music and imbibe 
it well. We share a unique relationship 
based on the bond of music that knits 
us together. Two of my students are 
recipients of the Central Government 
Scholarship and one is under the 
Junior Scholarship Scheme. 

Q) Do you have any message for the 
students of music? 

Ans) Carnatic music is so deep that we are 
all 'Once a student, Always a 
student'. A Guru is very important. 
Learning is a lifelong process and 
humility and reverence for the Guru 
is essential. I surrendered absolutely 
to my Guru and although I was not 
living in a Gurukulam, I have never 

missed a single moment when I 
could have been with her. Every 
spare moment was spent with M.L.V. 
Just like the parents aid the child in 
his/her first steps, in his/her stumbling 
blocks, so does a Guru point out our 
mistakes and correct them. The 
rapport with the Guru is akin to that 
of mother and child, father and child. 
Of course, students today need to 
accomplish more academically, but 
they must learn to cope. Practice, 
‘Saadhakam’, is very important. 

Q) What is your plan for the future? 
What do you feel about the future 
of Carnatic music? 

Ans) To continue singing, to continue 
serving mankind and to live a worthy 
life. Carnatic music is a rich and deep 
reservoir from where we are able to 
communicate but a reflection of the 
depth. To realize the depth, one will 
have to venture into that ocean of 
bounty, for which even a lifetime is 
too short. The knowledge and 
spirituality in Carnatic music is 
gaining prominence among music 
lovers the world over. 

Thank you. That was the traverse with 

Sudha. That is then the extent of the depth. 

So deep you can’t reach the depth □ 




Newel, Santhanagopaian 

10 Lahtha Sahasrana ama, one of the 

naamas. N,)a sallaapa Kacchap * 

Pehya^aa^^Hf * Shn Sh " ^ 
Pe yavaa. His sadupadeshas 

conversations with devotees, which by 

themselves were not only morale 

;°°!‘ e / S ' bu ; a| s° sequences of 
Atyadbhuta , Aparimita, Rasaanubhava We 

can say in a nutshell that Periyavaa's 
avataara is itself a descent of the Veena 
in the form of a Maanusha Shareera. 

The Maadhuryam , Gambheeryam, 
Mrudutvam, Suswaram, Sukhanubhaavam, 

and philosopher i 

one needs a 
take him/her to that 1 

level of understanding the Gurutvam of 
the Veena. 

Shri Periyavaa had extolled the sweet tone 
of the blemishless Veena by quoting 
Appar’s Thevaaram: “Maasil 

Veenaiyum ” in which a list of earthly 

objects have been enlisted which are 
capable of elevating us to the state of 
Brahmanubhaavam.The first and foremost 

Gurutvam , simplicity, philosophy, elevating 
nature and inexplicable divinity of the 
celestial Veena were all the natural qualities 
that incessantly flowed through Periyavaa 

in the list is the blemishless Veena (“Maasil 
Veenai"). The adjective Maasi!(Maasu -HI) 
has been given an enlightening and unique 
interpretation by Periyavaa:This expression 

Shri Periyavaa had many a time described 
the greatness of the Veena and has 
explained in precision how this concept of 
the Veena should be understood and how 
efficiently the Veena can be coordinated 
with one’s own spiritual Saadhana and 
reach the ultimate goal of life, Moksha itself. 
Shri Periyavaa had always insisted on the 
importance of a proper Guru to perform the 
Sangeetha Saadhana through the 
Veena. This can be well understood with the 
help of an anecdote: 

Once a vainika had come to Periyavaa to 
show his prowess in the instrument.After 
he had finished playing. Periyavaa asked 
him who his Guru was, for which the reply 
came: “I am my own Guru.’’ Periyavaa just 
said: "I can see that.” Thus we can clearly 
see from the above incident that, though 
the Veena , by itself is a friend, guide 

indicates that both the design of the 
instrument and the Melam (fret 
arrangement) should be impeccable and 
without any faults i.e. 100% faultless 
since, by interacting with the Veena, the 
vidyaarthi is going to enter into the world 
of Naada Yoga wherein perfection is both 
the means and the end. 

Another expression from Gnaana 
Sambandar’s Thevaaram clearly mentions 
that Lord Parameshwara Himself is 
revelling in his own music created by his 
soft and dexterous playing on the veena: 
Miga nalla Veenai thadavi ”. Here the 
padam thadavi' has been effectively 
explained by Periyavaa to understand as 
to how one has to fondle the Veena rather 
than to fight with it, to bring the result. 

Once a lady vainika prostrated before 
Periyavaa and prayed to Him to initiate her 



into Shrividya Mandalam. Periyavaa 
casually asked her what she was doing for 
her daily prayers, for which she replied that 
she was reciting Lalitha Sahasranaamam 
and playing the Veena after her daily 
morning bath. Periyavaa smiled and 
said: "Do you think you need a mantra other 
than these two which are by themselves a 
Shrividya Upaasana ?’’ Who but Periyavaa 
on this earth can reveal such subtle 

the Aparashankara's revelations on the 
Veena. Since music can be mistakenly 
understood as a sense of gratifying 
pursuits pure sanyasin is not allowed to 
perform before any common mortal. So we 
can see Periyavaa’s Dharma Achaaram 
in every action of His. Those who had the 
good fortune of experiencing Periyavaa’s 
Nitya Puja had observed the golden hands 
of Periyavaa playing the Sarali ’ on the little 

secrets of Naada Yoga Saadhana ? 

Once Shri Periyavaa was camping in a 
village south of Tamil Nadu.a vainika and a 
staunch devotee of Periyavaa went there 
for darshan. Periyavaa’s usual Aagna was 
to do Naada Samarpana during the 
Chandramouleeshwara Nitya Puja 
occasion. Periyavaa asked:"Have you 
brought your Veena with you?" 

"No Periyavaa," he answered. 

Don t worry," he said, ‘in the Agrahaaram, 

you will find a Veena at a particular 

house. Go and bring that. The problem is 

The Veena was brought and tuned 
Periyavaa requested for the Raaga 
Shankarabharanam. Just then it was 

"ST*; 252W S 8 S 

was the knowledae of deep 

had - 15 “S 

golden Veena for the purpose of 
Shodashopachara which includes 
Vaadya.Nrtya upachaara and the keener 
observer could not have missed the 
Bharata Mudra that was offered to the 
Goddess. Shri Periyavaa has always 
explained .quoting Saint Yagnavalkya that 
music is the easiest and direct path to 
salvation, if one becomes adept in the 
principles of the Veena and subtleties of 
Thaalam: “Veena Vaadana ” 

According to Periyavaa, Shri Muthuswami 
Dikshitar.a perfect Advaitin (we can see 
from the way he has praised all the deities 
and Shanmata) has enunciated the 
Raajamarga of Sangeetha Upaasana in his 
krithi: Balagopala" ( in the Raaga 
Bhairavi), in the line -."Vainika 

Gaayaka ”, which reveals the intimate 

Nnk between the celestial Veena and the 
Gaatra Veena i.e. the Human Body. 

May Shri Periyavaa’s Avyaya Karuna 
(boundless mercy) lead us to the 
sublime goal of Veenai Matam, the 
easiest and the surest way to salvation. 

Special address delivered at the Veenarpanam 

mZT" ° n J he occasion of Sri Kanchi 
tlw Peetharoh ona Shatabdi Mahotsav 
eld at Bharatiya Music & Arts Society on 
December 5, 2006 ' 




b V Vijay Natesan 

cr n - o o?:r s r te,, ' h *^ 

wime core competency” and 
“positioning” preached by market, ng and 
management gurus like Philip and 
M.chael Porter are ideally suited to the 
business world. It’s a powerful case. Except 
that it is not true. Scrutinized skillfully it can 
be demonstrated that these concepts can 
be applied not only in the corporate world 
but also in professions like dance, music, 
fine arts et al. I would like to draw light to 
this perspective by citing examples of 
drummers(Mridangists) of South India. 

Going back to the 1 950’s, one would readily 
accept that the two doyen mridangists were 
Palakkad Mani Iyer and Palani Subramania 
Pillai. Both of them came from a different 
school with each mastering the techniques 
of his respective school. However, I would 
be failing in my duty as the author of this 
article if I failed to mention the names of 
C.K.Murugabhoopathy and T.K.Murthy who 
are genius mridangists of high repute. But 
there were not many mridangists in the 
same league during that era. Contrary, one 
witnessed an emergence of mridangists 
par excellence in the 1960’s and 1970’s. 
These included artists like Palghat Raghu, 
Vellore Ramabhadran, Umayalpuram 
Sankaran.Guruvayoor Dorai et al. 

One can imagine the fierce competition 
that these mridangists would have had 
to face to earn a name for themselves in 
the field of Carnatic Music and more so 
in the musically intellectual city of 

Chennai. This lends I 
credence to the 
importance of realizing 
own core 
competencies and then 
accordingly positioning oneself in the 
competitive world of music. If one 
analyzes the styles of each one of the 
musicians mentioned in the above list, one 
can appreciate the point which I am trying 
to derive through this article. 

Starting with Shri Palghat Raghu (Raghu 
Sir as fondly called), he inspired a novel 
style of playing the instrument with an 
emphasis on the Kanakku (Mathematics) 
aspect of rhythm. One still cherishes his 
distinct solos which introduced music 
lovers to a different paradigm of 
approaching and presenting solos with 
utmost precision. Contrary to this, Vellore 
Ramabhadran Sir s playing had less 
emphasis on rhythm and greater emphasis 
on Nadais. His smooth and mellifluous 
accompaniment to vocal and instrumental 
concerts earned him an insurmountable 
place in the melody world. Ditto can be 
concluded about Shri Guruvayoor Dorai 
who is one of the finest accompanists ever 
witnessed by Carnatic Music. 

Moving on to Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, 
it goes without saying that he is one of the 
greatest mridangists of all time. His 
fingering techniques, speed (especially 
chappus and arai chappus), execution and 
precision scaled the art of playing 



mridangam to a different level.. Similarly, 
Trichy Sankaran, the torch bearer of the 
Palani School is one of the doyen 
mridangists of Carnatic Music whose 
playing can be enjoyed by one and all. 
They have dazzled and still continue to 
dazzle the audiences across the world with 
their scintillating solos. 

And how can one forget the maverick 
mridangist Shri T.V. Gopalakrishnan who 
was the foremost mridangist to start the 
Tala Vadya Katcheri format. He introduced 
a unique style of playing the instrument with 
Gummukki. His concerts with the genius 
vocalist Balamuralikrishna rose the concert 
levels to such a high echelon that his 
mridangam was quoted as a “singing 

The above mentioned analysis of artists, 
merely drives home the point that different 
artists possess different natural skills and 
are gifted with different physical abilities as 
well as capabilities. For example one may 
have long fingers whereas the other may 
have short ones. Now both the artists(say 
mridangists) may not be able to play the 
instrument in the same style though they 
could belong to the same school. 
Understanding one’s own physical scope 
and skill will help the artist in developing 
his unique style of playing the instrument 
and assist him in distinctly positioning 
himself amongst other artists. As it is said; 
“World is one's oyster", one can definitely 
enhance his/her level of playing the 
instrument and scale greater heights by 
taking lessons from these great stalwarts. 




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SHmmumr > JULY -SB-MBER 2007 

champion of upa pakkavadvas 

by Dr Sul °chana Rajendran 

cutcheri wdh ZTa dozen ZZclhar c*'™* t0 d ° thiS feat ' 
percussion accompaniments - uZ ^° mpnsin9 mr udangam, 

Pakkavadyas - was , he fashion if ^ 9hatam ' morsin 9. 

°rder of the day. The gradual den t d °' U a " d konnoko1 a nd 
of ancillaries leading to a compact reSpectw ' y by Shashikala, Latha, 

cutcheri with mainly Mrudangam as the Gok^ „ 

percussion accompaniment sent shivers v akshamma and Jaganmatha 
down Upa Pakkavadyakaras who .'' asu 1 devamurth y. the ensemble came into 
apprehended elimination from con Cer t Z ^ Whe " Doordarsha " first 
stage. There were few takers for Kaniira abroad i"' ^ Unit h3S Since 9 ° ne 
And PI- P Ramachar, better knovtnZ* 1 P laying at ,ar off Afr| can countries 
Kama Ramachar, championing the cause fmm 'd S ' n9ap ° re but awaits Patronage 
0f the “P* Pakkavadyas sought avemZ clone ° ' Tb -e s 

of experimentation and expression A self thJ reco 9 nized fem ale Kanjira artiste 
made, independent man though a hit '! 7 daU9hter ' B ' R Lata *»id the 
impatient but not impulsive Ramarh" T “ A,S ° there 15 °"<V one 

was constructive in his perception and ^ 6 M ° rSin9 artlste ' Bh agyalakshmi’’ 
fodhright in expression P agam tramed b * Ramachar. His 

granddaughter Shashikala is being 

His concern and efforts in oivinn the 9r °° m u ed as a Morsin 9 artiste. The 
Upa Pakkavadyas a face lift resulted l the intn 6 "^ a " promises ,0 turn 

“Mahila Laya Madhuri" - an aikwoman Tala * mb3 Laya Lahari '' 

Vadya Ensemble - way back at the dawn 

of the nineties of the last century. Reminiscing his past during this 

writers visit to Bangalore in 1990. 

Following is an article based on the Ramachar said that way back in 1936. 

informal tete-e-tete Dr. Sulochana he * then a lean ’ ,anky b °y of e, even) had 

Rajendran had with the maestro and *° ,itera,,y be he,ped on to the stage to 

slightly modified from the original substltute a rnrudangist (since the senior 

published in "Free Press Journal". - Ed.) v,dwan dld not turn U P) to accompany 

the stentorian voiced Chembai 

Sweetness oozes in the very name 
Mahila Laya Madhuri" and it is all nimble 
~ f^gered youngsters that Ramachar has 

Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar at Bangalore. 
An uneasy calm prevailed among the 
audience. But once the stroke was 




sounded his mettle spoke for itself. 
Characteristic of Chembai the 
magnanimous, the maestro applauded 
him at every turn, at every pace-shift and 
inspired him to play with zest. It put him 
into the limelight, strengthened his self 
confidence and helped him turn into a 
percussionist of eminence and a master 
of the Kanjira. 

Forthright, but impatient if not 
impulsive, Ramachar presented a picture 
of a self-made independent man seeking 
avenues of self expression and 
experimentation. That he had to weather 
many a storm in life, at home and in the 
profession was reflected in the touch of 
cynicism one discerned while talking to 

Proud that he hailed from a family of 
Yakshagana artistes and had his solid 
training under his father, the mrudangam 
maestro H. Putachar, Ramachar had been 
accompanying him on the Kanjira since 

,! a9 f e ° f slx and ^is earned him the 
Wle, of Master Bal Vidwan' at the age of 

th p V n n M yearS ! r ° m KriShna Wode Var the 
then Mysore Maharaja. 

JXT h " e '*' S ° me “tern** 

when he reminisced his ohiiHh™,-, 
-?*? " m * ln “ ln > balance between 

scsx Mrudan9am ™ - 

"A tiff with my father got me 
house at 18 and having , 0 fend for 

and later on my family, I could not stand 
on my own with Kanjira and Upa 
Pakkavadya alone and was left with no 
alternative but to take up mrudangam 
seriously” he mused. But the ego 
surfaces, “I never went in search of 
cutcheris. Offers came my way. I would 
rather do odd jobs to make both ends 
meet. In fact, I even did a stint of taxi 

"Was it not tiring and interfering with 
your performances?” I asked. “No, taxi 
driving was only a partime job, to 
supplement my earnings from concerts” 

But a rumour that Ramachar had given 
up playing Kanjira and Mrudangam and 
taken to taxi driving took him off the 
roads. A blessing in disguise, of course. 
That strengthened my will power to pour 

my heart and soul into the percussive 

Kanjira was Ramachar’s passion, 
though he played Mrudangam out of 
sheer necessity. Ever since his childhood 
this one-hand manipulation (required for 
Kanjira) attracted his attention and he 
tried to follow with one hand what his 
father did with both (on the Mrudangam). 
Circular and tambourine-like in shape, 
wooden framed and covered on one side 
with some type of skin, probably that of 
wild lizard, Kanjira has since ancient times 
been a folk instrument and used 
occasionally in congregational singing. In 
the south it was given a new lease of life 


SHm «UKHAo W . sePTEmam7 

disdp“°Da k M Ws 

1ST - ,r 

Mrudangam nuances. 

Hav| ng a unique grip over the Kanjira 
amachar in his own right had dine 
some researches and produced 18 types 
of the instrument, each having its own 
characteristics. “Melodious rhythm and 

reach’^he " UanCeS are not be yond its 

potentiahty a Tn d * d ^*««* 

. y m a lecture-cum 

demonstration at the Indian Fine Arts 
Festival, Madras presenting all the 18 
varieties and their respective specialities. 

The secret of his success lay in his 
technique of “faithfully reproducing and 
responding to the individual style as well 
as the inspiration of the time. 1 ’ Though 
as a mrudangist he tended to be 
aggressive, his Kanjira play “sobered and 
toned him up”, remarked a connoisseur. 
And exposures to concerts he had, 
teaming up with no less a person than 
the percussion phenomenon Palghat 
Mani Iyer and others like Murugabhupati, 
Umayalpuram Sivaraman, Vellore 
Ramabhadran, Guruvayoor Dorai had 
enriched his style. 

His teaming up with Trichy Sankaran 
a t 9th Talavadyotsav of the Percussive 
Arts Centre, Bangalore (1990), where 

both were recipients of awards 
Sankaran, the Palghat Mani Memorial 
Award and Ramachar, the Palani 
ubramania Pillai Memorial Award - 
accompanying the violin duet of Lalgudi 
Jayaraman and G.J.R. Krishnan was a 
memorable event. It was short and sweet 
but a spick and span instrumental 
quartet, the stringed duo flowing smooth 
on melodic contours while the percussion 
pair moved on with splendid strokes. The 
fusion of melody and rhythm, rhythmic 
nuances with melodic modulations, the 
sarvalagu ease, the split-second shiftings 
and the varied pace-shifts all went to 
prove that Ramachar rightfully earned his 
name, “Kanjira Ramachar" though he 
might have had a major role in concerts 
as mrudangist and accompanied 
stalwarts right from Maharajapuram 
Vishwanatha Iyer to the present day 

The segment of Upa Pakkavadyas has 
certainly been made poorer by 
Ramachar’s demise last year. The 
members of his "Mahila Laya Madhuri”, 
both individually and collectively should 
continue the mission he commenced with 
greater zest and involvement as by now 
they must have all matured into fine 
experienced artistes in their own right. 
That would be the right way of 
remembering the maestro and paying the 
best tribute as well as continuing the 
mission. rj 




by shri P. P. Ramachandran 

From the Tanjore Court to the Madras 
Music Academy by Lakshmy 
Subramanian: Published by Oxford 
University Press; Price Rs. 595/- 

Profoundly thought provoking, 
painstakingly and patiently researched and 
written in a turgid style are the three aspects 
that strike a reader who goes through the 

selection of musical 
compositions like 
the varnam which 
helped in voice 
relaxation and 
includes a variety of 
both melodies and 
rhythms and that 
alone would keep 

the format of Carnatic 

volume under review. 

music alive. 

Appropriately the first copy was received 
by Shri N. Murali, President of the Madras 
Music Academy, from the hands of that 
eminent musicologist, Dr. V. V. Srivatsa. 

The book is a social history of Music in 
South India and has as its starting point 
the Tanjore Court. The Kings of Tanjore 
were not only connoisseurs of music but 
were scholars of eminence. The role of 
Serfoji in codifying and implementing the 
notations of Carnatic Music is well known. 
From Tanjore, patronage of this divine art 
glided to Travancore and Mysore. From 
royal support to being cultivated by the 
common people was a gradual process. 
Cultural establishments began to appear 
and the Madras Music Academy's 
establishment in 1927 was the high- 
watermark in the history of Carnatic Music. 
In fact the Academy became the Cultural 
Custodian of Carnatic Music. 

The book has its cut-off date as the 1 970s. 
After this there has been a lot of corporate 
sponsorship for music programmes. 

The author Lakshmi Subramanian is a 
Senior Fellow in History at the Centre for 
Social Sciences, Kolkata. The genesis of 
the book is a preliminary paper she 
presented in 1998 under the aegis of this 
Centre on “History of modern classical 
music in India”. She embarked on a Social 
History of Music in South India, about the 
ways in which a nationalist discourse was 
framed for the reconstitution of the 
performing arts in India, about what music 
meant for nation building and for the 
individual enthusiast and conversely what 
the changing material context meant for the 
performers and the art form. The result is 
this book about music, its makers and 
managers in South India. 

Concerts used to last for four to six hours 
at the beginning of the twentieth century 
Anyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar who devised 
the present format of concerts insisted that 
katcheris had to incorporate a specific 

Beginning with a quote from the poet 
Ramalingaswamy “Dharma Miga 
Chennai”, the author offers a masterly 
analysis of how music enveloped and 
developed Madras city. A scholarly account 



of the genealogy of Carnatic music is 
presented with special emphasis on the 
musical explosion in the Cauvery basin. 
Purandardasa was a key figure who not 
only composed several padams and 
devotional songs but was also among the 
first to develop a teaching methodology for 
the tradition. The great work of Govinda 
Dikshitar and Venkatamakhin - who 
outlined a scheme of 72 melakartas - are 
also highlighted. The Marathi rule that was 
consolidated in the 18th and 19th century 
led to a cultural efflorescence in Tanjore. 
The Classical Trinity represented a distinct, 
subjective and individual artistic ideal that 
came together to produce a remarkably 
composite, yet richly diverse templates of 
musical ideas and expression. 

Lakshmi Subramanian brings out 
succinctly how music moved from the quiet 
courtyards of Tanjore to the Concert halls 
of Madras and how in this process the 
social context of music and performance 
underwent a striking transformation. It has 
been clearly brought out how a century of 
music led to changes in patronage and how 
the art form was affected by this. The role 
of the western-educated Brahmin elite has 
also been clearly elucidated as also the 
forces that played a crucial role in 
developing the music idiom. 

The Madras Music Academy eminently 
succeeded in maintaining the pristine purity 
of the classical tradition through its annual 
conferences, through its journals, which 
carried the results of valuable research. The 
author also covers the skirmish with the 
Tamil Isai Sangam and the controversy 
Brahmin-non Brahmin identity and the 
demand for rendering only Tamil songs a 


Special mention must be made of a chapter 
devoted to the devadasi system which was 
the traditional custodian of a section of the 
performing arts. The role music played in 
the freedom movement has been brought 
out cogently. Broadcasting of music as 
pointed out by Dr. V. K. Narayana Menon 
“.... has given our musicians the quality of 
precision and economy. The red light in the 
studio door is a stern disciplinarian. 
Broadcasting has also given the musicians 
a clearer sense of proportion and a clearer 
definition of values that matter in music’ . 

The book is a remarkable account of the 
transformation and evolution of Carnatic 
music. It has 427 footnotes and the 
bibliography gives details of 1 09 books and 
31 articles, apart from a list of contemporary 
journals, tracts and publications, both 
private and government, in English and 

One does wish that the style of writing was 
less heavy so that the common man can 
benefit from it. One example of denseness 
of style from P 144 is given below. 

“One cannot overstate the self- 
consciousness of the project and, as in any 
engagement with an aesthetic experience, 
the distinction between a rhetorical overlay 
and an individual subjective orientation or 
a collective invocation was not always easy 
to figure out”. 

The volume under review is valuable to 
students and scholars of history, music 
sociology and South India and is warmly 
commended for solid and sustained 




Sulochana Pattabhiraman 

ish jf no t not have been flooded with concert offers, 
n without but they have left an indelible mark by their 

traced high standard of teaching, solid 
ridb a paatantharam, deep vidwath and optimum 
standards of propriety. 


Music has suffered 

in recent months is ^ 

enjoyed a long 

innings in his musical career. Belonging to 
Thiruvengadu, near Seergazhi, his natural 
talent and musical sensibilities were fine 
tuned by the redoubtable vidwan Madurai 
Mani Iyer. He provided vocal support to his 
Guru in many concerts. Atop grade artiste 
of Prasar Bharati, Jayaraman was a 
repository of a wide range of compositions 
of many composers and also an authority 
on the compositions of Siddhar fraternity. 
Jayaraman was a treasure house of 
Virutham largely comprising sage 
Agasthya’s verses in Tamil and his soulful 
rendition created a serene spiritual 
ambience. He never traded traditional 
values for glitz, glitter or glamour. He 
evolved his own style with complete shruthi 
alignment, spick and span, kruthi versions 
and captivating sarvalagu kalpana 



swarams. Following the practice of his 
Guru, Jayaraman always included a 
Navagraha kruthi of Dikshitar in his 
kutcheris. He was a vidwan who sported a 
low profile and was never one to elbow his 
way seeking opportunities, name, fame or 
lucre. A recipient of many awards, 
Jayaraman was a vidwan of great dignity 
maintaining an impeccable sense of 
decorum on the concert stage. 


T. Muktha, one of 
the last doyens of 
the much revered 
Dhanammal bam 
passed away at the 
age of 92 in March 
2007. An authority 
on Padams and 
Javalis, Mukthamma enjoyed singing the 
Navagraha kritis and others of Muthuswami 
Dikshitar. Her musical expression had a 
robust yet extremely melodic vein running 
through it. She was a generous teacher, 
easily approachable and loved sharing her 
knowledge with keen students. She was a 
large hearted artiste who never criticized 
the performances of other vidwans but was 
appreciative of the positive aspects. Her 
duet concerts with her elder sister Brinda 
were the toast of the cognoscenti. Brinda 
and Muktha received their initial training 
from their mother Kamakshi Ammal and 
later under the veteran Kancheepuram 
Naayanaa Pillai. 

T. Muktha, a well respected Guru has 
passed on her legacy to many disciples 

including S. Sowmya, Reeta Rajan, 
Nirmala Sunderrajan, Subhashini 
Parthasarathy and others. 


Semmangudi R. 

Srinivasa Iyer had 
bequeathed his 
rich musical wealth 
to a legion of 
sishyas and K.R. 

retired professor of 
music, Palghat 
Music College, was 
one of the seniormost among them. He had 
a holistic approach to his art never stooping 
to compromise. His values were high, and 
in his halcyon days he harnessed with 
distinction, variety, dignity and accuracy in 
his sensitive musical expression. His 
inherent knowledge, authentic 
paatantharam and over flowing repository 
anchored by numerous compositions of 
various composers in different languages 
drew students to him like bees to a hive. 
He was a genius of a tunesmith and his 
attractive melodies had a distinctive quality 
that synthesized the angelic beauty of the 
Hindustani idiom with the regal mien of the 
carnatic system. His wife Meera 
Kedaranathan is a musician in her own 
right and carries on the good work of her 
husband. Perhaps Kedaranathan s 
musicianship was not sung as much as it 
deserved but he will be missed by his entire 
student community and South Indian 
music aficionados. 





Born in 1916 at 
Kumbakonam, the 
Mridanga vidwan 
Rajappa Iyer earned 
the reputation that 
whoever has the 
benefit of his 
tutelage and guidance would automatically 
become vidwans of high caliber. This 
tribute was paid to him by none other than 
the percussion genius Palghat Mani Iyer. 
Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer praised him for 
his unlimited vidya daanam. The legion of 
disciples he trained is too numerous to be 
listed. Among them are Srimushnam 
Rajarao, K.R. Ganesh (son and disciple), 
Bala Shankar. Umayalpuram Mali, Pazhani 
Kumar, Manoj Siva, Kalakkaadu Srinivasan 
and a host of others. Rajappa Iyer has 
accompanied such stalwarts as Ariyakudi, 
Papanasam Sivan, T.K. Rangachari, M.D. 
Ramanathan, Lalgudi Jayaraman and 
others. He was also an expert in lecture 
demonstrations on Mridangam and 
Ghatam. His passion for art was such that 
he became a mridangam vidwan instead 
of an auditor. His gurus included 
Azhaganambi Pillai and Sakkottai Ranga 
Iyengar. It was sheer dedication and an 
awesome commitment towards his art that 
made him a shining guru in the field of laya. 
He passed away on Marqh 5, leaving 
hundreds of vidwans mourning his death. 


Vidwan A. Sundaresan was yet another 
carnatic vidwan who was struck down by 

the compelling force 

of nature. A disciple 
of vidwan C. V. 

Krishnamoorthy Iyer. 
a musician 

belonging to the 
Thyagaraja Sishya 
Parampara, took him 
under his wing and 
shaped his inherent 
potential to appreciable levels. Sundaresan 
was an impassioned artiste who hardly 
made compromises in his teaching 
methods. Even a young student had to get 
his lines right. He preferred group teaching 
just to encourage healthy competition and 
also to create an atmosphere of 
camaraderie, conducive for the process of 
learning to be more relaxed and jovial. He 
was a thinking musician concentrating on 
the intricate micro tonal gamakas, 
subtleties of ragas, eschewing any 
irrelevance. He was an imaginative 
tunesmith whose magnum opus was the 
melody he provided for the Mukunda Mala 
of Sri Kulashekara Alwar with appropriate 
chittaswaras. His students include Gayathri 
Venkatraghavan, B. Narayani, E.N. Krithika 
and Vasumathi Desikan who are all 
performing artistes of considerable merit. 
His method of writing notation was 
absolutely precise and he has held several 
workshops to teach rare compositions of 
different composers. 


During the past one year, the sphere of 
Carnatic music has become poorer by the 
passing away of many stalwarts in the field 

such as Sangeetha 
Kalanidhi T.M. 
Thyagarajan , 
vidwans A 

Jayaraman, K.R. 
/ Kedaranathan, B.V. 

Raman, Vidushi T. 

Muktha, R. 

Visweshwaran, Mridangam maestro 
Kumbakonam Rajappa Iyer. 

In the passing away of T.M. Thyagarajan, 
the customary expressions “end of an era, 
has left an irreplaceable void, a huge loss 
to carnatic music”, and so on do not 
adequately reflect the vacuum created by 
his absence. TMT, known as the preserver 
of the Tanjavur music tradition was a 
descendant of a very special artistic 
lineage. A vidwan of extraordinary musical 
wisdom, exemplary character and 
excellent culture, he joined the privileged 
stable of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer who 
held his disciple in high esteem. TMT had 
many strings to his artistic bow as a 
performer, Guru, composer, tunesmith, 
administrator, et al. “Take an ideal and give 
your whole life to it”, said Vivekananda and 
that is precisely what T.M. Thyagarajan did. 
He was a man with a mission. 


Professor Sangeetha Samrat S.V. 
Parthasarathy was the son of the famous 
writer, S. V. V. who was so popular because 
of his ready wit and humour. He had 
benefited by the musical guidance under 

titans like T. S. Sabesha Iyer, K. Ponnaiah 
Pillai, Tiger Varadacharya and Saathoor 
Krishna Iyengar. He was a top ranking 
artiste in carnatic music of All India Radio 
and also a producer of light music in the 
top grade category. He had worked in the 
Annamalai University. He held the post of 
producer of carnatic and light music in AIR, 
Tiruchirapalli for 22 years. He produced 
many quality programmes such as operas, 
Raga Vilakkam, Keerthananjali and special 
interviews with great musicians of that era 
In light music he made his mark, tuning 
many songs for popular artistes T.M. 
Sounderrajan, PB. Shrinivas, P Susheela 
and others. His contribution to the Madras 
Music Academy as a senior member of its 
expert committee was considerable. His 
music for 20 songs on Jesus Christ was 
known as Aanmavin Ragangal. A vidwan 
of worthy caliber, he was involved with 
Carnatic music till the very lost, providing 
advanced training to senior students in 
vocal music and veena. 

The entire musical fraternity has been 
orphaned by these great stalwarts crossing 
the divide in recent months and it is a 
herculean task to replace such titans in the 
field. n 




by Smt. Sudha Subramaniam 


Rhythmic patterns packed with emotion, 
the sound of the teka, the chapu or 
gumki on the toppi side, the broad 
articulation of solkattus, the perfect 
melodic modulation, the prolific laya 
manodharma. That is Guru Nandakumar 
for you. 

September 16th witnessed Guru 
Shikhamani Sruti Laya Sudhakara Swar 
Sadhana Ratna Vidwan Shri 
T.S. Nandakumar being conferred the Sri 

Shanmukhananda Bharat Ratna Dr. M.S. 
Subbulakshmi Best Teacher Award 
amidst great fanfare at the 
Shanmukhananda Fine Arts & Sangeetha 
Sabha, his home turf for years, where 
he has trained ordinary students into 
extraordinary performers. The award 
carried a silver lamp, a citation and a 
cash prize of Rs. 25,000. 

The invocation song by the students of 
Shanmukhananda Bharatiya Sangeetha 

Vidyalaya was followed by a short 
speech by President Shri V. Shankar. 
While reading the citation, Convenor and 
Secretary Shri V. S. Amarnath Sury 
stressed how music is representative of 
divine beauty and is a mediator between 
the spiritual and routine life. 

Guru Nandakumar trains students the 
world over in Mridangam, Ghatam, 
Kanjira, Moorsing and Konnakol. His 
students, both national as well as 
international, are A' Grade artists 
themselves. He is the recipient of several 
awards, including the Sangeet Natak 
Academy Award and the Lifetime 
Achievement Award. Mridanga Vidwan 
Shri T. S. Nandakumar who owes his 
lineage to the renowned Ambalapuzha 
brothers of Kerala, is a very simple, 
down-to-earth person, who cherishes his 
art and loves his students. When the 
Tsunami disaster struck, he conducted 
an Akhanda Naada Seva, a 24-hour 
non-stop musical prayer, to pray for the 
well-being and safety of those affected. 

A child prodigy, his talents were 
discerned at an early age and he was 
educated by Guru Kaithavanam Madhava 
Das under the Gurukula Sampradaya 
System. He has played for artists like 

Dr. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, 
Dr. Balamurali Krishna, Pt. Bhimsen 
Joshi, Prof. T. N. Krishnan, Dr. N. Rajam, 
Dr. N. Ramani, T. K. Govinda Rao, 
Hyderabad Brothers, Shri K. 3. 
Gopalakrishnan, Shri Nedunuri 
Krishnamurthy and others. 

The magnificient award ceremony was 
followed by a spate of tributes to Guru 
Nandakumar from faculty members of 
Shanmukhananda Bharatiya Sangeetha 
Vidyalaya, Music Triangle, Naadalaya. 
Padam, Chembur Fine Arts and so many 
more. Then to everyone’s delight, a 
horde of Nandakumar’s students 
swarmed the stage, sought his blessings 
and then charmed everyone by 
displaying their talent by telling the beats 
on the mike. Well-rehearsed and 
captivating, they hogged the limelight. 

The award function was followed by 
well-rendered dance performance by 
Shobana Balachandra, on Mira’s love 
for Lord Krishna. The nattuvangam by 
Smt. Neela Sukanya, vocal by 
Kalaimamani Radha Badri, costume and 
make-up by Sethu Madhavan, 
Mrudangam by G.Vijayaraghavan, violin 
by T. K. Padmanabhan and flute by Shri 
Shashidhar were indeed commendable. 







happenings at the vidyalaya 

by Nalini Dinesh 

Madhavan’s on 14th July, 2007, and an 

It has been a very eventful quarter 
especially with the revival of the Talent 
Exposure Concerts. As the name suggests, 
these concerts offer a platform to students 
of the Vidyalaya for myriad reasons: to 
encourage their efforts, enable them to gain 
practical experience for future 
performances, help them overcome stage 
fright, train them in singing with percussion 
and accompanying instruments and 
drawing up a suitable programme of items, 
to create a healthy, competitive atmosphere 
for both students and teachers, and to help 
them stay focused. These concerts have 
been revived with the initiative taken by our 
Director, Smt Radha Namboodiri, after a 
long gap of five years, and fittingly, named 
S.Seshadri Memorial Talent Exposure 
Concerts, since Seshadri Mama’s pet 
subject was their revival. 

S. Seshadri Memorial Talent 
Exposure Concerts 

The maiden concert was Mast. Aditya 

excellent start it was too. With flawless kriti 
rendition, kalpana swaram and good raga 
alapana, Aditya certainly has great 
performing potential. Starting with the 
evergreen Bhairavi varnam Viribhoni, Aditya 
elaborated both Hindolam (for the Dikshitar 
vilamba kaala kriti Neerajaakshi, with 
kalpana swaram), and Poorvikalyani (for 
the rare Shyaama Shastri kriti in Tamil 
Enneramum Un Naamam with kalpana 
swaram in the challenging Misra Chaapu 

Pushpa and Kaveri Anantharaman sang in 
the seniors’ slot on the same day. Theirs 
was a neat presentation sans errors. Each 
of the duo took turns in the Latangi raga 
alapana. and followed it up with the 
Papanasam Sivan kriti Venkataramana and 
kalpana swaram for the same. The tillana 
in Brindavani was very well sung by the duo 
and the Purandara Dasa Madhyamavati 
mangalam was a good change. 

Ms. Aruna D and Mr. Aditya Rajagopalan 
provided good support on the violin and 
mridangam respectively. Special mention 
must be made of Aditya Rajagopalan who 
made his mridangam literally sing the 
Bhairavi varnam with Aditya Madhavan, 
and so closely shadowed the neraval and 
kalpana swaram of Pushpa and Kaveri, that 
it became one with the singing. His 
experience as a vocalist has obviously 

honed his skills as a percussive 

The second talent exposure concert the 
vocal recitals of Kum Krittika Ranganathan 
and Ms Abarna Balan, were held on 21st 
July, 2007. They were given good support 
on the violin and mridangam by Mast 
Tejasvi V, and Mast Rohit Prasad 
respectively. Young Krittika sang the 
Kamboji Ata Tala varnam Sarasijanabha 
and the Arabhi pancharatna kriti 
Sadhinchene with good bhava, which is no 
mean achievement. Kalpana swaram for 
the Shankarabharanam kriti Rama Ramana 
Ra Ra was handled with great aplomb. 
Krittika would do well to focus more on raga 
alapana, by practicing the fundamental 
exercises, try to build more phrases, and 
listen to the great masters singing the same 

Ms. Abarna Balan, II year KVC student sang 
serenely, with a smile on her face. Relaxing 
is the first step towards giving one’s best 
on stage. Once this is achieved, the rest 
would follow naturally, as was proved with 
Abarna’s performance. The popular Sri 
Ranjani kriti Gajavadana with kalpana 
swaram was followed by the brisk Vasanta 
Swati Tirunal kriti Parama Purusha. Raga 
Alapana, neraval and swara prastaram 
were reserved for Kamakshi in 

Shri Sury, convener of the Vidyalaya had 
the last word when he said these talent 
exposure concerts were stepping stones 
to the talent promotion concerts. What 

better encouragement could the students 

Kum. Ananya Shankar, 5th year student 
commenced the third talent exposure 
concert on 4th Aug 2007, with Smt Parvati 
Shankarnarayanan KVC diploma II year 
student in the seniors’ slot. The point made 
above about nerves worked the opposite 
way for Ananya! Blessed with a good voice, 
capable of good gamakas, and good 
innovation on swaras, it was nerves that 
marred an otherwise good effort. Starting 
with the Gambheera Naattai Ata Thala 
varnam of Sri Panchapakesa Iyer. 
Rangotthunga, she elaborated on 
Mohanam with alapana and kalpana 
swaram for the kriti Sadaa Paalaya. 
Dedicated and consistent practice will pay 
rich dividends for this promising student. 
She should also pay attention to smaller 
details, like pronouncing the composer's 
name correctly. 

Smt. Parvati Shankarnarayanan began with 
the popular Hamsadhwani kriti Vinayaka 
Ninnu Vina, with kalpana swaram and took 
up Pantuvaraali as the main raga, for the 
beautiful and not so common GNB kriti 
Shivananda. Parvati has a good voice well 
suited to classical music. More focused 
and intense practice of swara prastara 
would add much to Parvati's quality of 

Both singers were accompanied by Shri 
Karthik Ramaswamy on violin and Shri 
Vinod Ramaswamy on the mridangam 




September's talent exposure concert had 
VI year student Kum Anuradha Rao. singing 
a complete suite of alapana, neraval and 
kalpana swaram for the Navaratri kriti 
Saroruhasana Jaaye. Her performance was 
a credit to herself and her teacher for, 
manodharma sangeetham is the more 
intangible and elusive aspect of our 
classical music, which, as Dr. R. Vedavalli 
said once is like the growth of a plant, you 
cannot see it grow, as you look at it day by 
day. but is nonetheless bigger when you 
suddenly look at it after a fortnight or month. 
Consistent watering (practice), manuring 
(listening to good music) and good sunlight 
(the guru’s teaching) ensure beautiful 
blooms - students can take this as gospel. 

Smt. Praveena Gautaman KVC II year 
student, is standing proof of the above 
theory -she seems to have been following 
the Kaizan principle of continual 
improvement and there could have been 
no better tribute for her guru’s efforts than 
her performance that day (in the very own 
words of her guru). Kalyani was the raga 
chosen for alapana, followed by the Swati 
Tirunal kriti Pankaja Lochana, with trikala 
neraval and kalpana swaram. 

Shri. Anandnarayan (Prakash) supported 
the vocal artistes on the violin and Mast 

Shram Rajan handled the percussion on 
the mrida ngam 

Lecture Demonstration on Voice Culture 
on 10 Aug 2007 

Dr. (Prof) T. Unnikrishnan, Dean Music 

faculty, Indira Kala Sangit University, 
Kharagarh, Chattisgarh gave a lecture 
demonstration on topics of immense 
interest & practical application, to the vocal 
faculty of our Vidyalaya - on Voice Culture, 
Voice Therapy and Voice Production 
Techniques for the singers of Carnatic 
classical, Hindustani classical and light 

The main topics he discussed were voice 
problems and voice production. 

Voice problems were categorized into 
functional disorder (physiological or 
genetic) and voice abuse (constantly 
speaking or singing in a noisy 

He next discussed good voice production. 
This involves 

a. Control of larynx - different tones are 
produced depending on the position 
of the voice box and results in “chest 
voice” and “head voice”. Carnatic 
singers use chest voice, Hindustani 
singers use combination of chest and 
head voice and light/devotional singers 
use mostly head voice. 

b. Breath Control - Breath is the fuel of 
the voice. There are four types of 
breathing - neck, chest, abdominal/ 
diaphragm and paradoxical. 
Diaphragmatic breathing is the 
healthiest and provides optimal 
amount of oxygen to the organs 
including vocal apparatus. 



Vaggeyekara Celebrations 

ShrL Papanasam Sivan, Oothukkaadu 

Bhamt n Ub / bler and G °P alak rishna 
Bharati Day (4 July 2007) 

Master Srinath Ramkumar Warrier sanq 
popular compositions like Sharanam 
Ayyappa in Mukhari, Sabhapatiku in 
Abhogi and Alaypayuthe in Kaanadaa. His 
gamakas were clear and pleasant to hear, 
and the renditions had imaginative 
endings. Endings of a kriti after the pallavi, 
anupallavi and charanam, incidentally are 
the first exposure that students have of 
manodharma sangeetham. 

A rather diffident Abheri alapana did not 
prepare the listener for the bhava-laden 
phrases in the following Kamboji alapana 
in Smt Padmini Vijayaraghavan’s recital. 
The popular composition Kaana Kan Koti 
of Papanasam Sivan has madhyamakala 
passages after anupallavi and charanam 
which again reminds us that some Sivan’s 
compositions were influenced by 
Dikshitar’s style and some by Thyagaraja’s 
style. The recital would have had a greater 
impact with stronger layam. 

It was clear that Sameer Subramaniam had 
made all the compositions he rendered his 
own. The concert had clear enunciation of 
lyrics and clear and well-rounded gamakas. 

A brisk start with Shree Vighnarajam Bhaje 
in Gambheera Nattai and 2 more racy 
compositions Maal Marugaa in Vasanta 
and Sivakama Sundari in Jaganmohini, 
then led to a sedate Mahalakshmi in 


Sameer elaborated Vasanta for the 
Papanasam Sivan kriti “Maal Maruga" and 
also Kamboji raga followed by the 
evergreen kriti Tiruvadi Charanam. 

The artistes were accompanied on the 
violin by Shri Satish Sheshadri and Shri 
R. Narayanan on the mridangam. 

Muthu Thandavar, Arunachala Kavirayar 
and other Tamil Composers Day (18th 
Aug. 2007) 

Smt. Sujatha Ramesh gave a good recital 
of well-known kritis in her dulcet voice. She 
rendered Konji Konji Va Guhane, a 



Periyasami Thooran kriti in Kharrias raagam 
and Yaaro Ivar Yaaro in Bhairavi evocatively 
and Vandu Seruvaar, a Sahana kriti by Kavi 
Kunjara Bharati was another excellent 

The next performer for the evening was Shri 
Harishankar Iyer, a former KVC student of 
our Vidyalaya. Dayai Puriya in 
Malayamarutham, composed by 
Vedanayakam Pillai and Arul Seyya 
Vendum, the Koteeswara Iyer kriti in 
Rasikapriya raagam were rendered very 
well. Lathangi and Reetigowlai were 
expanded on competently. 

Lakshmi Krishnamurthy’s rendition of the 
Tamil compositions took the listeners back 
to the golden era of MK Tyagaraja 
Bhagavatar, KB Sundarambal, Dandapani 
Desikar (who happens to be one of 
Lakshmi s gurus at the Annamalai 
University) et al. With a majestic voice and 
throw, perfectly aligned to shruti and clarity 
of brighas and gamakas, Lakshmi cast a 
spell on the audience. Her recital that day, 
proved that kriti rendition is an art by itself 
and requires time and experience to 
mature, just as manodharma sangeetam. 
Lakshmi’s recital commenced with a 
Dandapani Desikar composition in 
Devamanohari Aanai Mukhatton, included 

Pongu Tamarai in Simh^ndra 
mandhyamam of Periya Sami Thooran, 
Addikkondar in Mayamalavagowlai of 
Muthu Tandavar, and ended with a 
Ponnaiah Pillai tillana in Bilahari. 

Sri Vishwanath Ramaswamy accompanied 
the artistes for the evening on the violin, 
and Shri Karthik Ramaswamy provided 
mridangam support. 

Pt. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar & Pt. 
Vishnu Narayan Bhatkande Day (22 Sept 

Yogesh G. Hunswadkar trained in the style 
of the Mewati gharana presented a 
Hindustani vocal recital on this occasion. 
He was accompanied on the tabla by Shri 
Sudhir Shingade and Shri Vasudev Rizbud 
on the harmonium. 

The performance began with Raag Puriya 
Dhanashree. A khayal and a drut bandish 
were presented. This was followed by a 
bandish in Raga Haunsdhwani. An 
interesting & rare composition in a Raga 
Charaju ki Malhar followed to mark the 
monsoons. In a tribute to the legend Pt. 
Paluskar, a well known bandish in Rag 
Kamod was presented. The rendition 
concluded with Raag Bhairavi. □